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Friday, June 7, 2013

Starting Huge, Foolish Projects

"Start a huge, foolish project like Noah.
It makes absolutely no difference what people think of you."
(12th century Sufi poet)

It is possible that my current life could best be described as a series of huge foolish projects. After all, I left behind a tenured professorship with status, money, and job security to wander the hills and deserts of the Southwest in pursuit of poetry, spiritual revelations, and gigs. There are, no doubt, more than a few people out there who see such my choice  as foolish....but I think I am gonna take Rumi's advice where those people are concerned....

Because many people working at stable secure jobs are unhappy. How many people are pursuing their dreams? How many people are willing to pursue huge foolish projects despite the risk? How much are you willing to risk?

Ultimately, I am risking so much because I believe in my projects. I think that writing my poems and my books, getting them published, performing and speaking for righteous causes throughout the country,  and creating performance pieces, workshops, radio shows, and TV programs, among other as yet unimagined huge and foolish projects, are important and worthwhile endeavors. And I really cannot afford to care too much anymore what people think about my decisions. Not if I want to stay on course.

Because to do the impossible you must remove from your life all persons, places, and beliefs that would limit you to what heretofore you had defined as possible. To do the impossible is to be willing to have countless people laugh at your goals and discourage your dreams...because you know that ultimately thousands more will support them and benefit from them in the long run.

Pursuing the impossible after all is absurd. Accepting absurdity as an integral element of your life is par for the "huge foolish project" course.

Now, because of my early indoctrination into the scientific method (Bachelor's degree in Physics- what cha gonna do?) and my lifelong tendency to rely quite heavily, if not exclusively, on logic and empirical evidence to guide much of my life, this whole letting-go-of-the rational-in-favor-of-the-absurd path has not been an easy one for me to embrace.

I find myself falling back into fear, doubt,  and worry when I begin calculating expenditure/income ratios, or considering the probability of my becoming successful in certain fields, given existing stats available on the subject. I have to continually remind myself to have faith in my huge foolish projects, despite the apparent facts. I have to forcefully shift my focus to my successes and not allow myself to focus on my failures. I have to stay true to my vision and surround myself with people who have their own visions.

People who have their own visions will not be as ready to shoot down yours. They may give you constructive criticism and advice based on their own experiences, but they will never try to divest you of your vision. No one who has ever lived their life according to a vision would ever wish a vision-less life upon anyone.

People, on the other hand, who have abandoned all their dreams often resent the carefree dreamer. How dare I wander about the country writing poetry and meditating when you have to get up every morning at 6 AM to feed the kids, drive in rush hour traffic, and go to a job you hate? Misery really does love company unfortunately.

But visions also love company and the bigger a vision is and the more people share it the greater chance exists that it will be realized.

My vision is for the world. Through my writing and speaking, I am bringing people together to dialogue across difference. I am helping people to shift their individual lives into a higher vibration in order to assist in the planetary shift to a higher consciousness.

What is your vision?